Psalms 124: God Makes the Difference

We get excited about college basketball. As a fan, you love to see the underdog come from behind and do something that nobody believed was possible. You don’t know how it happened, and you don’t know necessarily why it happened, but it ultimately did happen.

If you think about that, Israel was kind of in a similar position through most of their history. They should have been wiped off the map multiple times, but for some reason they continued surviving. Even when they ended up being captured, they were not utterly destroyed even though many countries had the opportunity to exterminate them. What was going on here? Psalms 124 explains it pretty well.

Psa 124:2  If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

Psa 124:3  Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

Psa 124:4  Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

Psa 124:5  Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

Psa 124:6  Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

Why was Israel so successful? They had God with them, and that made the difference. I don’t really know how much more I can say beyond that. I can’t say that Israel tried harder. I can’t say that Israel was morally superior. I can’t say that Israel had a spectacularly trained army that dominated all opponents.

Any of those things could be hypothetically true, but notice that that is not what was highlighted in this passage. The difference was made through the power of God.

Some people would argue that this is simply some kind of bizarre twist on the “God of the gaps.” We might not know how Israel survived, Israel did survive, and therefore it must be God behind it. Certainly, David would argue that since he was the author of this Psalm.

However, even if you are not ready to take that as an argument, unless you have some kind of presuppositional bias against the existence of the supernatural, you certainly cannot rule out God being the source of the difference. I would go as far as to say that it is reasonable to believe that there was something supernatural about this situation, but we at least cannot say that it was absolutely impossible.


Posted on March 16, 2014, in Psalms and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks

  2. Thanks, Zsk. In our small group last night (about the Lord’s Prayer) we spent some of the time on a wonderful verse from Isaiah. The context was whether God, “who art in heaven” and so fundamentally removed from us is truly accessible to us and a part of our lives (and by extension, a part of the lives of his chosen people as you’re talking about in your blog today). The quote from Isaiah 57:15 is: For this is what the high and exalted One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
    “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
    Take care. See you Sunday!

    • That would have been a very great verse for me to include. It is a very interesting how it shows that we are valuable enough to God to have that access. It is an amazing privilege.

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